September 25, 2009

Unquestionably worth it

This hasn't been the best week ever, but lucky for me, it's getting worse right now because it's 9:30 on a Friday night and (1) I'm blogging, which is plenty lame, and (2) the jerkwad who lives upstairs from me thought this would be an awesome time to do some home improvement. Sounds like there's some electric drilling*, some sanding, and - probably just to mess with me - a little bit of hammering. Just awesome.

But please: Don't despair. Because I found something you could buy me to cheer me up. Two nights in Pennsylvania. Well, more specifically two nights at Fallingwater - perhaps the coolest private home ever designed. (Photos here, here and here - thanks, Flickrerers.) I'm a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan, and because I lucked out when it came to getting great parents, I actually got to take a tour of the place when I was in high school.

So, if you'd like to pony up the $1,200 for the two-night stay, I'll promise to send you a post card. Seems totally worth it - even if I'd only get to hang out and eat in the main house (sleeping accommodations are in a neighboring guest house rather than in Fallingwater itself). Yep, sign me up.

Oh, actually, one other thing that really cheered me up this week was that for the first time in months, I sold one of my t-shirts - my homage to Tulsa, Oklahoma. It's probably the most un-PC shirt I've designed, but it was also the first one I posted to my Zazzle page, almost a year ago. I was shocked** that nobody had bought one until now - seemed like the kind of thing that would really catch on.

Get yours today - it's the perfect Yom Kippur gift.

* No, not a euphemism.
** No, not really.

September 18, 2009

Two thinks about drinks

That's possibly the stupidest blog post headline I've ever written. But I'm too tired to care. Why? Possibly because I stayed up till 12:45 a.m. playing around with iTunes last night.

But more likely it's because I haven't had a cola* or a Starbucks chai tea latte in almost two weeks. (I tried this once before, memorialized for your entertainment here and here.)

Fortunately, I haven't had any of the withdrawal headaches you hear about, but I'm constantly sleepy and I've finished a 48-pack of Pepto tablets this week, often follwed by Tums chasers.** Also, I've realized that my recent blog posts are almost completely lame.

I'm blaming it all on my well-intentioned but possibly foolish cola-and-chai boycott. Essentially, I have decided that my body is rejecting the lack of caffeine. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but, as you might have read three seconds ago, I'm working without caffeine, people!

On a very loosely related note, it occurred to me this morning that if I lost some of my mojo, it would probably leave me with a mojito.***

Thank you. Don't forget to tip your servers.

* My beautiful wife made fun of me for using the term "cola" the other day, but the word choice is intentional. I did have about a liter of ginger ale last weekend and I was distinguishing that from Coke and its brown, caffeinated soft drink brethren. Now, having explained all of that, I realize I sound even odder, but whatever.
** This is probably not FDA-recommended.
*** I'm sure 943 million people have thought and/or said this before, but I've never heard it, so I'm just going with it.

September 16, 2009

Amazing she knows how to work a steering wheel

I've just parked my car on the fourth level of a seven-story parking garage where I work. I know it's the fourth level because it is conveniently labeled with large, bright painted signs, about every 100 feet, that read, and I quote, "LEVEL 4." I don't spend tons of time in the garage* but one thing I've noticed is that the other six levels are also conveniently labeled with large, bright painted signs, about every 100 feet, that indicate to drivers what level they're on.

So it strikes me as somewhat odd when a woman driving a Porsche Cayenne pulls up to me and asks, and I quote, "Is level 2 downstairs from here?"

After offering up my best incredulous stare, I offer up the most brilliant answer I can think of: "Yes."

"In the basement?" she asks.

Yes. They started the building with level 2, just to mess with you.

I am not making this up.

* I'm calling it a garage because that's what it is, although in L.A., for some reason, people call it a "lot."

September 11, 2009

Oh, good. I wondered where I'd left that temple

Leave it to to come up with those news headlines that really make you think. Take this one, for example, which appeared today:
Ancient synagogue found in Israel
Amazing. I wonder where they had been looking for it originally. I'd probably have started in Israel and worked my way out.

Anyway, I'm glad that came up in today's news because it reminds me of one of my favorite passages of motion picture screenplay, which is from the quirky - and vastly underappreciated* - 1998 movie Zero Effect (trailer here).

Bill Pullman plays a crafty but socially inept P.I. named Daryl Zero, who has a unique way of looking at his job. As Daryl put it:

Now, a few words on looking for things. When you look for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all things in the world, you only want one of them.

When you look for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them.

I've tried to incorporate that logic into my everyday life, but it seems to work better in the movies.

* Either that or it was mediocre but I was in a great mood when I saw it and it just seemed really funny at the time. Which is possible.

September 10, 2009

Whereas other fish look like Michelle Pfeiffer

I'm torn on this one. Which do you think the hoki - a deep-water fish mostly found in the South Pacific - resents more?

A) That New York Times writers are stating categorically that it is "an ugly creature"


B) That there's a good chance it ends up covered in "cheese" and served as a McDonald's Filet o' Fish sandwich

Thinking about that delectable combination of fish and cheese reminds me of one of my favorite (that is, one of the nastiest) restaurant reviews ever, which I blogged about back in the good old days.* If you missed it, you'll want to check it out. Unless, of course, you happen to own Gladstone's in Malibu.

* last year

September 9, 2009

Super, dawg

Airport layovers usually stink.

But when you're traveling cross-country and you've got a few minutes to kill at Midway Airport in Chicago, layovers rule.


Photo credit: Me
Food credit:

I sort of meant to take a picture of the hot dog, contentedly cushioned in its bed of french fries, but I ate the darn thing too fast.

September 2, 2009

The National Gallery

My regular readers will be relieved to know that, despite the catchy, artsy headline, this post doesn't have anything to do with paintings.

Nope, I'm just posting a mini gallery to recap a magnificent performance by The National last Saturday at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. The guys played almost all of the songs I wanted to hear - only exception was my favorite National tune, Gospel - and sounded great doing it. Plenty of energy, and plenty of volume, too, which was cool because several of their songs are essentially loud ballads, so I was wondering how they'd sound in concert.

We were seated in the balcony, which on this night was only a problem because there was no discernible air conditioning and it was about 200 degrees. But despite the heat and the high perch, I managed to take a handful of pictures that I thought were not too terrible.

(To answer the snarky question that my sister will probably ask: No, I didn't take this one from the balcony.)

(Just setting the scene for you. Drink in the atmosphere, people.)

And, for those of you who prefer hearing music to looking at still photos of it, here are vids of two numbers from the show. They're a little dark - bordering on pitch black - for long stretches (I'm doing the best I can with my seven-year-old Sony camera!), but the sound is pretty good.

First, Fake Empire:

And here's Start a War:

Dates for the next few shows are listed here if you want to hear for yourself.